OUR MARAWI: Extending Martial Law rests on necessity and practicality

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 14 Dec) — My support on the extension of Martial Law rests on necessity and practicality. For one, the actual threat of terrorism is not imaginary or distant. What we observed for the past five months of intense armed-conflict and the humanitarian crisis it resulted following the liberation of Marawi from the terrorist group creates an atmosphere of insecurity.

Although it is true that the combat operation launched by our state forces against the attackers of Marawi may have been terminated which led to the activation of the early recovery phase for the City, the challenge however to normalize the peace and security condition on the ground in relation to the ongoing efforts to respond on threats against the whole province is still a work in progress.

The battle in Marawi is over. The long war to free us from terror threats has yet to begin. There is a common expression that winning one battle is not enough to secure a victory in war. This is true to Marawi and Lanao del Sur. We won the battle but we are yet to win the war against terrorism and violent extremism.

It necessitates therefore to operationalize and implement to its full extent the cancellation of the Privilege of the writ of habeas corpus against those who in one way or the another supported the attempt to establish an IS state in Lanao del Sur and subvert the governments’ effort to continue working for the good of the Moro people in areas of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Marawi as a member city of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao has been chosen by terrorist organization as their center of operation in Southeast Asia precipitates the need for our national and local governments to deal with this menace like a sickness that needs to be cured.

But military operation can not suffice to curb the problem of terror threats. They need the peoples’ support and support we shall give them. We need to lay the foundation to create an environment practical and suitable for the implementation of Martial Law’s operational directive where civilian and military coordination is strengthened and established. I see the threat of

Violent Extremism not just a security concern for our state forces to address but of the whole community’s concern. As a citizen of this country and a local of Marawi at that, I don’t find it difficult to reconcile security and peace. One can not be achieved in the absence of another. They are not mutually exclusive and must therefore go hand in hand.

By ensuring that the principle of peace and security is being observed and felt by ordinary people on the ground, self-correcting measures by our security sector should also be well-defined, imposed and observed in order to avoid human rights abuses.

The issue of Martial Law is a delicate matter for the very reason for its extension is argued on the bases of an actual damage and threat against socioeconomic and cultural fabric of a community who have suffered and experienced unimaginable trauma for the past several months and would likely live up to these realities in years to come. It is high time that we deal with this threat head-on and must assume a proactive position to prevent any terror group to rise again. We have the momentum and we should capitalize on it before it’s too late. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Our Marawi is open to anyone who wishes to share his/her thoughts on what is happening in Marawi. Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong of Lanao del Sur is the Majority Floor Leader at the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao)